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John Harbaugh: Our defense will be top-five in the league at worst

Matt Elam AP

The Ravens won the Super Bowl after the 2012 season, but that didn’t guarantee an extended stay for any players on the defensive side of the ball.

Baltimore returns just two starters — linebacker Terrell Suggs and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata — from that team and they’ve been working to replenish the talent supply. Their first four picks in the 2013 draft were defensive players, but they gave up the most fourth quarter points in team history. They added four more in the first four rounds of this year’s draft, leaving coach John Harbaugh to set a high bar for the unit to reach on the field this season.

“The expectation for our defense is to be top-five, at the worst,” Harbaugh said, via ESPN.com. “It has always been that way and always will be.”

This year’s Ravens defense is much shorter on experience than the one that won the Super Bowl, but the hope is that the infusion of youth over the last two years has upped the speed and athleticism enough to bring the team back to previous heights. It’s a big bet and one that will further solidify the reputations of Harbaugh, defensive coordinator Dean Pees and General Manager Ozzie Newsome if it pays off.

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58 Responses to “John Harbaugh: Our defense will be top-five in the league at worst”
  1. dickson29 says: Jul 11, 2014 4:10 PM

    Shouldn’t it say, “Our defense will be in the worst 5″?

  2. raylewisandhisteeth says: Jul 11, 2014 4:11 PM

    7-9, tied for last in AFCN with the Brownies.

  3. clashpoint says: Jul 11, 2014 4:16 PM

    Ravens shouldn’t count their eggs before they’re hatched.
    Sometimes they get scrambled.

  4. 8to80texansblog says: Jul 11, 2014 4:19 PM

    How’d that whole giving Joe Flacco $100mm thing work out?

  5. 4thquartermagic says: Jul 11, 2014 4:20 PM

    “Wow that’s great! How about your offense John?”

    “No comment.”

  6. ravens2xworldchamps says: Jul 11, 2014 4:23 PM

    Harbs has spoken. The Baltimore Ravens, greatest franchise in SPORTS history.

  7. dcapettini says: Jul 11, 2014 4:26 PM

    You would think that John Harbaugh would have been around the NFL long enough to know that making statements like this is stupid and counterproductive. Top 5 in defense is pretty good and the Ravens haven’t been anywhere near that in years. The defensive line is very suspect. They are absolutely counting on a third round rookie at Free safety and will probably be starting a rookie at middle LB. The corners are hardly secure and the pass rush has been lacking.

    It will probably play OK, but a couple of guys are going to have to have career years to get to Top 5. At this point, I wouldn’t even wager on Top 10 and I am a rabid Ravens fan.

  8. mzim2756 says: Jul 11, 2014 4:35 PM

    Only 7 comments in 30 minutes, imagine the number if Rex said it

  9. overratedsteelerhater says: Jul 11, 2014 4:38 PM

    ravens got plenty money ,Flacco deal is cap friendly.Ravens will pick up another player before season starts.[always do] THE BIRDS ARE BACK.had to get a little break 5 yrs straight
    at least 1 plafoff win deserves a little break

  10. greenlantern75 says: Jul 11, 2014 4:43 PM

    “Only 7 comments in 30 minutes, imagine the number if Rex said it”

    Beat me to the punch and much more succinct…

    Well said Sir!

  11. flash1287 says: Jul 11, 2014 4:43 PM

    What ever, this is an 8-8 team at best.

  12. ubu507 says: Jul 11, 2014 4:44 PM

    Man, the Harbaugh routine is wearing thin — on both coasts…

  13. weepingjebus says: Jul 11, 2014 4:46 PM

    Top 5 in watching Tom Brady high-five his way off the field, maybe. 41-7 against the Patriots, at home, week 16.

  14. 52crabcakes says: Jul 11, 2014 4:48 PM

    I am a die-hard Ravens fan but don’t like Mr. Harbaugh at all.

  15. ahostiletakeover says: Jul 11, 2014 4:50 PM

    Consider that all of the new pieces (Dumervil, Canty, Daryl Smith, etc) from last year have had time to gel now after finishing a solid 12th in points allowed and yards allowed its not hard to believe that this can be a top 10 defense again. Lardarius Webb is now over a year removed from his ACL injury and he was already a very underrated guy and Jimmy Smith stepped up to what everyone thought he could be last year finally. The defensive line and linebacking corps are loaded with solid depth from front to back and Haloti Ngata will be back at his preferred 5 tech DE position instead of NT. The only legitimate concerns are at nickel corner (will Chykie Brown or Asa Jackson step up or will newly signed Aaron Ross or Domonique Franks be able to help there?) and free safety where Darian Stewart is slated to start (3rd rd rookie Terrence Brooks will be the answer there in the future but doubt he is ready this year.)

  16. bmoreballbuster says: Jul 11, 2014 4:51 PM

    Harbs has spoken…Nuff said!
    GO RAVENS!!!

  17. partmachine says: Jul 11, 2014 4:57 PM

    I guess all you guys like when your team’s coach sets the expectation at mediocre.

  18. xinellum says: Jul 11, 2014 4:57 PM

    I heard the same crap in the comments section before the 2012 season. The jealousy is palpable whenever anyone writes about the Ravens but since there is no more Ray Lewis is a murderer comments, the trolls have had to work a lot harder to bash the Ravens. But only ‘Hawks and Ravens can claim a Super Bowl title in the last two years so if you are not a ‘Hawks fan, your just a loser and haven’t won a Lombardi since the Ravens have. I know, it must be tough for teams that are perennial losers as we have had two Lombardis since 2000. I guess trolling is what the losers are doing cause you don’t see that from Ravens fans.

  19. Aaron Rodgers Has Tiny Hands says: Jul 11, 2014 4:58 PM

    Wow, it didn’t take long for that team to fall apart. Only two players left on defense, and they’re both old dudes.

  20. pftisfulloftrolls says: Jul 11, 2014 4:58 PM

    You would think that John Harbaugh would have been around the NFL long enough to know that making statements like this is stupid and counterproductive. Top 5 in defense is pretty good and the Ravens haven’t been anywhere near that in years. The defensive line is very suspect. They are absolutely counting on a third round rookie at Free safety and will probably be starting a rookie at middle LB. The corners are hardly secure and the pass rush has been lacking.

    It will probably play OK, but a couple of guys are going to have to have career years to get to Top 5. At this point, I wouldn’t even wager on Top 10 and I am a rabid Ravens fan.
    ————————————————————-
    2nd best defense in 2011
    The Ravens drafted 5 Defensive Linemen in the past 3 drafts.
    The Ravens have Arthur Brown to compete with Mosley and regardless of whoever wins there’s going to be a rotation at ILB anyway.
    The pass rush might fare better if they weren’t on the field all the time.
    The Ravens defense was 11th in the league in 2013 and I don’t think that it’s asking too much of them to climb one rank.

  21. thebigtexas says: Jul 11, 2014 5:01 PM

    Aren’t the title and most of the comments here missing the first portion of his quote? All he said was he expects them to be in the Top 5 in defense. I would hope all coaches around the NFL would have that exact same expectation of their own team. It’s not a guarantee or anything. This is a big problem with even seeing a quote, the tone can certainly be changed – and changed into a click-bait article.

  22. mdd913 says: Jul 11, 2014 5:05 PM

    Seahawks
    49ers
    Panthers
    Saints
    Bengals
    Cardinals

    hard to imagine the Ravens being better than these teams on D.

  23. moagecu says: Jul 11, 2014 5:06 PM

    Comment from Harbaugh: “The expectation for our defense is to be top-five, at the worst”

    Title of article: “Our defense will be top-five in the league at worst.”

    Difference between “expectation” and “will be”.

  24. ravensrunthenfl says: Jul 11, 2014 5:09 PM

    Afc north defensive rankings
    1. Ravens
    2. Browns
    3. Bengals
    4. Steelers

  25. napalm101 says: Jul 11, 2014 5:23 PM

    Sure, because you’re not playing the NFC West…I get it…

  26. lenbias34pt says: Jul 11, 2014 5:27 PM

    Ravens fan here………so thou hopeful, aside from CB our big ticket guys are all on the down side of their careers.

    Sure I feel a few rookies and Brandon Williams will step up…..BUT i’m a fan.

    The D will be fine, not top 5.

    The UP side Potential is the Offense with a real OC, an improved OL and an old Steve Smith.

  27. vikesr4reel says: Jul 11, 2014 5:37 PM

    and your QB is awful!!
    sorry, gonna be a long year for the offense unless you get a real QB!!

    Think Tebow…..
    He is still available

  28. laxer37 says: Jul 11, 2014 5:37 PM

    However, no word on his offense. One that boasts an over-paid QB coming off his worst statistical season, a suspect running game, a tight end coming off injury, and a receiving corp that’s among the most boring in the league.

  29. doctorrustbelt says: Jul 11, 2014 5:42 PM

    Elevator.

  30. Nofoolnodrool says: Jul 11, 2014 5:42 PM

    With JumpBallJoe at QB you better be top 2 if you want to make the playoffs. But elevator Ray will miss a few games causing the D to get worn down…good luck.

  31. watermelon1 says: Jul 11, 2014 5:43 PM

    Typical Harbaigh, following in the exact same footsteps as Brian Billick. Can’t hear his voice enough.

  32. culturecesspool says: Jul 11, 2014 6:31 PM

    Obviously no one of PFT watched a ravens game last year.
    Flacco throws more INTs than TDs for the first time, yet no one remembers dropping the running game for the spread offense.
    Flacco sacked 48 times, but it’s still his fault even though the offensive line flat out stunk.
    The ravens won the super bowl due to their great defense that ranked 25th.

    I for one am very excited for the improvements to the defence as well as the offensive line which should give Flacco more time and open more lanes for rice & co. Along with bringing on Steve Smith and Owen Daniels, gary kubiaks scheme and playbook changes we should have a exciting season.

  33. revelation123 says: Jul 11, 2014 6:32 PM

    “How’d that whole giving Joe Flacco $100mm thing work out?”
    ——————

    Extremely well…for Flacco.

  34. trollaikman8 says: Jul 11, 2014 6:34 PM

    $120USD Million.

  35. mark4steelers says: Jul 11, 2014 7:37 PM

    That’s HILARIOUS!!! One of the four selections from 2013 isn’t even on the team any more (failure) & the other 3 accomplished absolutely squat as a group last year. Then you have 4 newly selected rookies who haven’t proven they can even tie their NFL shoes correctly & suddenly your a “Top 5 at Worst” level defense!! Hahahhahaaaahaaaa, hahahaaaaa, snort, chuckle, LOL!!

  36. dfwhawkguy says: Jul 11, 2014 7:46 PM

    The funny part is they could be a top 5 D in the NFL and still 3rd or 4th in the NFC West. Not a slam just an observation that 4 of the best D’s out there all reside in the Varsity Division. Let all the others fight it out for the best JV defense in the NFL…

  37. trubblman says: Jul 11, 2014 7:47 PM

    The headline is a misrepresentation of what Harbaugh said. The headline is a prediction. Harbaugh’s statement is an expectation. The headline is mere clickbait.

  38. Umbra Aeternus says: Jul 11, 2014 8:54 PM

    xinellum says:
    Jul 11, 2014 4:57 PM
    I heard the same crap in the comments section before the 2012 season. The jealousy is palpable whenever anyone writes about the Ravens but since there is no more Ray Lewis is a murderer comments, the trolls have had to work a lot harder to bash the Ravens. But only ‘Hawks and Ravens can claim a Super Bowl title in the last two years so if you are not a ‘Hawks fan, your just a loser and haven’t won a Lombardi since the Ravens have. I know, it must be tough for teams that are perennial losers as we have had two Lombardis since 2000. I guess trolling is what the losers are doing cause you don’t see that from Ravens fans.

    Do you ever read the comments? You should go to Steelers notes and just take a look.
    And just in case, have you ever read that follwing line on a comment?

    Cheers! ;)

  39. steelcurtainn says: Jul 11, 2014 9:08 PM

    The Headline should read “Ravens defense will be top five worst defense in the league”. I think the times have done past Johnny Harbaugh. The lucky run has been over.

  40. scw1993 says: Jul 11, 2014 9:22 PM

    Nobody is jealous of the ravens at all, why would they be. They’re just hated.

  41. 34defense2014 says: Jul 11, 2014 9:28 PM

    That’s funny! First you have to be better the the Jets Defense!

  42. 34defense2014 says: Jul 11, 2014 9:35 PM

    Funny how all you bird fans don’t like Rex? Is it because your Defense had been on a major decline since he left? Top5 last I looked the Jets had one of the best Defensive fronts in Football? I have full faith good Rex well get the secondary back up to where it belongs this year as well!! Good luck with your Billion dollar QB!! Nice playoff run for you guys last year? lol

  43. sandy102270 says: Jul 12, 2014 12:39 AM

    That’s HILARIOUS!!! One of the four selections from 2013 isn’t even on the team any more (failure) & the other 3 accomplished absolutely squat as a group last year. Then you have 4 newly selected rookies who haven’t proven they can even tie their NFL shoes correctly & suddenly your a “Top 5 at Worst” level defense!! Hahahhahaaaahaaaa, hahahaaaaa, snort, chuckle, LOL!!

    —–

    I don’t know where you get your information from, but none of the Ravens picks prior to round 7 have yet been cut, so you’re factually incorrect.

    You should also probably take a hard look at how Pittsburgh’s draft picks performed before you proclaim anyone else’s draft picks failures. Those guys who ” accomplished absolutely squat” statistically outperformed the Steelers’ draft class.

    Oh the irony……

  44. wakaflaccoflame says: Jul 12, 2014 1:17 AM

    We win superbowls. What do your teams do? They should try doing what we do.

  45. mtrhead269 says: Jul 12, 2014 1:18 AM

    Can you be top five and miss the playoffs two years in a row?

  46. dirtyback says: Jul 12, 2014 2:11 AM

    Old and Slow

  47. bubblehead22 says: Jul 12, 2014 2:44 AM

    Where’s the white suit?

  48. pittsburghdamned says: Jul 12, 2014 3:58 AM

    Er…Top 5 Worst in the league.

  49. sladewillson says: Jul 12, 2014 7:26 AM

    Funny how all you bird fans don’t like Rex? Is it because your Defense had been on a major decline since he left? Top5 last I looked the Jets had one of the best Defensive fronts in Football? I have full faith good Rex well get the secondary back up to where it belongs this year as well!! Good luck with your Billion dollar QB!! Nice playoff run for you guys last year? lol
    ________________________________________________
    What makes you think raven fans don’t like Rex? He accomplished more as the ravens D coordinator than he ever will as the jets head coach and good luck with Vick and Geno as your QBs

  50. 3rdshiftatthewawa says: Jul 12, 2014 8:31 AM

    “The expectation for our defense is to be top-five, at the worst,” Harbaugh said, via ESPN.com. “It has always been that way and always will be.”
    He doesn’t say they “WILL BE”, he says “THE EXPECTATION FOR”. He did not say anything that any other coach in the NFL would say about their team. Relax, we got this.

  51. jacktheraven says: Jul 12, 2014 9:58 AM

    The doubters here got tricked again by J. Alper, miss quoting John’s statement. You fall for it every time you want to say something critical of the Ravens. Laughable.

  52. ravenswinsuperbowl47 says: Jul 12, 2014 7:41 PM

    Top 5 may be tough. Mistake letting Pollard walk along with Reed’s end of career. Young safeties are still iffy. CBS, LBs, and L look solid, not stellar

    But returning to the playoffs is probable, as the offense will likely return to 2011/212 level via adding Steve Smith and Kubiak. Both Steelers are aging and Bengals are sliding after peaking. The Browns are …. the Browns.

    here’s something for the trolls to ponder: I ran into Brian Billick at restaurant today, reminding me of how fortunate we Ravens fans have been over the 14 seasons since the Bisciotti+Newsome+Billick or Harbaugh management team took over, starting with the the 2000 season. Since then: two Lombardi Trophies, 4 AFC Championship appearances, 9 playoff appearances, 12 seasons in playoff contention in late December. Only the Patriots have done better.

  53. richiethegreek says: Jul 12, 2014 8:09 PM

    “here’s something for the trolls to ponder: I ran into Brian Billick at restaurant today, reminding me of how fortunate we Ravens fans have been over the 14 seasons since the Bisciotti+Newsome+Billick or Harbaugh management team took over, starting with the the 2000 season. Since then: two Lombardi Trophies, 4 AFC Championship appearances, 9 playoff appearances, 12 seasons in playoff contention in late December. Only the Patriots have done better.”

    Only the Pats have done better? Thats a joke right? now about a team in they’re own division, from western Pennsylvania.

  54. sandy102270 says: Jul 12, 2014 10:43 PM

    Can you be top five and miss the playoffs two years in a row?

    Ask Steeler fans, they have recent experience with the latter.

  55. ravenswinsuperbowl47 says: Jul 13, 2014 4:57 PM

    richiethegreek says:
    Jul 12, 2014 8:09 PM

    Only the Pats have done better? Thats a joke right? now about a team in they’re own division, from western Pennsylvania.

    ==================================

    During the 2000-present era, Ravens are 2-0 in Super Bowl, Steelers are 2-1; Steelers had 5 AFC Championship appearances, Ravens 4; Ravens have 9 playoff appearances, Steelers 8; each team has has four .500 or below seasons. Those are nearly identical.

    “The “Joke” is on you, Richie.

    Patriots in same era are 3-2 Super Bowls, eight AFC conference appearances, 11 playoffs, zero .500/below seasons.

    I repeat: only the Patriots have done better than the Ravens since Bisciotti took over the team.

  56. troy43mvp says: Jul 13, 2014 10:02 PM

    harbaugh never built that defense in the first place. He should leave those predictions to the guy that coach’s the defense.

  57. walkinginthewasteland says: Jul 14, 2014 10:23 AM

    Top 5 D?

    Only in arrests.

  58. Ed Bandell says: Jul 16, 2014 3:49 PM

    Um…folks….he didn’t say that he has the greatest defense in football. He didn’t even say his defense is in the top 5.

    He said he EXPECTS his defense to be in the top 5. IT is called setting a high goal. Similar comments have also been made about the offense.

    Hey there Texans fan….how’d that trade for Matt Schaub work out for you guys? How’d giving money to Andre Johnson and Arian Foster work out for you?

    And really, a Jets fan coming on here and talking trash? When is the last time The Jets won….anything?

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